People need safe and practical alternatives to cars for transportation. Anymore, if you're walking or riding on a bike or motorcycle in an urban area, you're on your own. It is way more dangerous than it was 20 years or so ago. People are driving around while they're messing with their phones, and they're not watching where they're going, they're just watching out for other cars and large objects.
There's all of these people with expensive bikes. They don't ride them to work very often, and they're not on the buses.
It should be mandatory that drivers ed schools devote a considerable amount of time toward teaching drivers to watch out for people that aren't in other cars, and how to interact with them. State drivers tests could cover bike and pedestrian laws so people know their rights.
Most cities are currently designed around the automobile, and the newer ones weren't always planned the best way when it comes to this. The auto industry once made up a very large part of our manufacturing and economic base. It isn't that way so much anymore. The combined market caps for the two largest domestic auto manufacturers are currently about 90 billion. To put this in perspective, just one of the largest computer/software companies is currently pushing the trillion dollar mark.
Another thing that has changed is domestic cars aren't always made here, and there isn't as much labor involved in their production. When someone buys a car now, it is often an import. Then, they're spending on gas and insurance. What's better, car insurance or health insurance? Motorcycle insurance is cheap, and they don't use much gas.
Two things have had a major impact on consumer spending patterns over the last century. The cost of automobiles when adjusted for inflation has risen dramatically, and so has the cost of houses. These are two of the biggest things most people will spend their money on. Given a situation where a couple, for instance, has the option of paying rent and owning two cars, or buying a house, it is probably best for them and the economy if they go with the second option.
If the couple buys the house, their wealth goes up. Houses are made here, although they aren't exportable. The materials are exportable. Also, a lot of the companies that make the materials are based here, and a lot of them are made here.
Another relevant issue is where our buses come from. There are domestic bus manufacturers which are located here and build them with domestic chassis. Maybe it should be policy that cities buy these rather than imports.
Finally, there's all the people who are currently working low paying service jobs, working part time or underemployed. Many of these people can't afford to buy a car, insure it and pay for repairs. They need other transportation options.
My other blog: The Harris Wblog